Our Eagles beat writers make their picks for Monday night's game at Lincoln Financial Field:
You're the Raiders. You're 6-8 and need nothing short of divine providence to make the playoffs.
You're counting the days until the end of the season. But first, you have to wave bye-bye to your wife and kids and get on a frickin' airplane and fly 3,000-plus miles across the country to play a game on Christmas night against a team that has a chance to clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs if it beats you.
Don't be shocked if the Raiders come out of the tunnel at the Linc Monday night waving a white flag.
The Raiders are 31st in opponent passer rating, 27thin yards allowed per pass attempt, tied for 22nd in sacks and dead last in interceptions with four.
Hell, Nick Foles might even throw seven touchdown passes against them again.
Prediction: Eagles 41, Raiders 13
I think we'll see the Eagles' defense play better this week. At least I hope so, because I really don't want to have to write about Jim Schwartz throttling any of his players on the sideline on Christmas night.
The offense, though… I wonder if last week was really a good test of what we're going to see with Nick Foles running the show. He enjoyed great field position, but never really connected on a long throw. The four TDs kind of obscured some rusty, out-of-sync moments, which certainly can be excused given Foles' lack of work with the starters. But I don't think you snap your fingers and everything functions perfectly, even after a week or two.
I think this work is really important for Nick, looking toward the playoffs. He ought to be able to lean more on the running game than he did last week, assuming no big early deficit.
All of which is a way of saying that if the Eagles haven't clinched home-field throughout the postseason by the time the game starts, and the starters really need to play hard, I like the Birds to win, but I'm not predicting a rout.
Prediction: Eagles 26, Raiders 19
The Eagles' offense is humming, and even a backup quarterback couldn't stop that locomotive. I can't see the Raiders slowing it down. Oakland has allowed nearly 7 yards per pass attempt, has only four interceptions, and even with defensive ends Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin, the team is only 22nd in the NFL in sacks per pass. I don't see Nick Foles having a significant setback a week after his impressive first start.
On the other side of the ball, the Raiders' offense has been nowhere near as explosive as it was a year ago when it finished sixth in total yards and seventh in points. Quarterback Derek Carr has regressed. He's never been much of a downfield thrower, but it's been check-down city in Oakland.
The Eagles will have to contend with running back Marshawn Lynch, but their run defense hasn't been the issue.
The feeling here is that cornerback Ronald Darby and the Eagles secondary will bounce back after a few sloppy weeks.
Prediction: Eagles 27, Raiders 20.
It should be a good Christmas in Philadelphia. Nick Foles can take advantage of a vulnerable Raiders secondary as long as he has time, which is not a given with Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin rushing the passer. Pay attention to how the Raiders use Mack, who can move from his usual left side to the right to try to put pressure on left tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai.
The Raiders are better against the run than the pass, but they've allowed more than 100 rushing yards the past two games.
On defense, the Eagles must play better on the back end after Eli Manning shredded the secondary. Derek Carr is a talented quarterback, even though his production declined since last season. Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree will test the Eagles' cornerbacks.
The key will be a pass rush against a Raiders offensive line missing left tackle Donald Penn. The Raiders lost four of six games on the road this season, and the Eagles will be plenty motivated if they're playing to clinch home-field advantage.
It won't be a blowout, but the Eagles will celebrate the No. 1 seed.
Prediction: Eagles 31, Raiders 24
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